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(UK) Kent: $14M (U.S.) allocated for MORE autism places in schools; 'massive shortage'

July 4, 2019, Kent Online: Mother's struggle to get special school place for autistic son near Dover as figures reveal 'massive shortage' of places in Kent https://www.kentonline.co.uk/dover/news/battle-for-special-school-places-amid-massive-shortage-207911/ A mother has described the struggle to get her autistic son into a special needs school as new figures show the "massive shortage" of places in part of Kent. Former GP health assistant Lyn Watson said she feels "quite lucky" to have been able to get her autistic son, James Tracey, into a special school near Deal. Her comments come after Kent County Council published a report detailing the huge disparity in the number of school places allocated to children who have autism across the county…. A total of 48 school places for autistic children have been authorised in the south of Kent this September compared to 413 in the west; 359 in the east and 183 in the north…. She said: "There were only three schools in the whole of Kent catered to my son's needs, otherwise I would have had to home educate him."… As KCC, the education authority, attempts to cope with the growing demand for people with special needs, plans are in place to create an extra 643 school places for autistic children throughout Kent by 2023, including 182 in the south. An extra 238 have been commissioned for east Kent, 183 in the west and 40 in the north, the report also says. More than 160 autistic students will be catered for at the site of the former Walmer science college buildings near Dover. Plans are also in place to open a new specialist resourced provision at schools in Ashford (Chilmington Green Primary School), Maidstone (East Borough Primary School), Thanet (Garlinge Primary School) and Dartford (Ebbsfleet Green) by 2020. Around £11m [$14M U.S.] has been allocated to Kent County Council in the last two years to improve school place allocation for autistic children, prioritising the south, by 2023. …